Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled in a landmark case that saw Same-Sex Marriage made legal across all 50 states. The Court ruled 5 to 4 in favour of allowing gay people to marry, with Justice Kennedy as the deciding vote.
Of course the ruling has not been universally popular. Many of the American right, especially Christians and traditional conservatives, have been especially unhappy with the ruling as they believe that it breaches their religious freedoms. Others have, quite fairly, stated that this is a breach of states rights or a breach of the constitution.
However I don’t buy these arguments. I believe that there is a conservative case for the ruling and a case for supporting it. I suppose to start with we should debunk some of the claims made by many conservatives who are opposed to the ruling, in particular the idea that it’s unconstitutional. The Supreme Court exists as the highest court in the United States because of the constitution and its rulings are based on the constitution. So that makes it very difficult to claim that the ruling was unconstitutional. It is also important to understand that decisions are made in the court based on not just what the text and supporting documents actually say, but also on what the mood of the nation is. Further to this it has also been very clear that the US has, for quite some time been moving towards support for Same Sex Marriages. A poll earlier this year found that 59% of Americans support Gay Marriage.
We should also perhaps look at the fact that the Supreme Court exists to preserve constitutional rights and the liberties of citizens against the government. Even the staunchest minarchists and libertarians would argue that there is a need for a judicial system that stands up for the individual, and that is exactly what the court did yesterday. Conservatives should accept the Supreme Courts ruling as the final say, or risk losing trust in the judicial system.
And of course there are problems with this ruling, I will accept that it’s undermined States Rights. I will accept that it also has the potential to force Pastors and Priests to marry two gay people even if it is against their religion, but I have no doubt that this issue will at some point make its way to the courts, and again we have to put our faith in the judicial system to come up with the answer that defends liberty.
I suppose I should also briefly touch on the conservative case for same sex marriage, rather than just defending the case itself. Conservatism is, as I’m sure you’ll know, based on a series of tenets. One of these tenets is the belief in the ‘Rule of Law’, the idea that all should be equal in the eyes of the law. It is this belief that I believe justifies equal marriage. I believe that conservatism should extend the idea of equality before the law to the equality of marriage for as long as the state continues to recognise the institution of marriage. That is to say that tax breaks and benefits afforded to straight married couples should be given to gay couples as well.
I believe that another justification of conservative support for equal marriage comes from the idea of family values. It has been proven time and time again that a strong and loving family helps the development of children, and statistically children from strong families go on to create strong families of their own. If we want a strong society then we should support the family unit regardless of the sex of the parents.
Finally I would like to turn my attention to the campaigners who have been celebrating the court case. For the love of god show some humility in victory and show some respect to those on the losing side. Just because they didn’t agree with you doesn’t mean that you can lambast the opposition now that they’ve lost. If you show respect to them they may well show respect to you. And lets try not to make this a party political issue, after all not all gay people are lefties.